So I have a proposal. I want to start a Whisper Campaign. Sometime in the next 30 days, identify someone you genuinely admire, and when the opportunity presents itself, whisper, or say in a low voice, when no one else is paying attention: You're amazing. And then just smile, pat them on the shoulder or
shake their hand, and walk away.
Now I can hear you saying to yourself this won't possibly work. Worse, it might get you charged with sexual harassment, pandering, or even infidelity. That's why it's important not to say it loud and not when anyone else can eavesdrop. It is less likely to be startling or embarrassing if it's said quietly. The smile is to let them know you're sincere and not being sarcastic (and don't tell me people won't assume you were being sarcastic -- without the smile and the pat they might just stay awake all night fretting about what you really meant). And by just walking away you make it clear that you're not expecting, or waiting for, a response. But make absolutely sure it's sincere -- if your motive for saying it is to get anything in return don't say it (if you do, and it backfires, you deserve it -- you're cheapening the compliment and spoiling the Campaign for the rest of us).
What do you think will happen? At the very least, you will make that person feel better. It's very possible they will ask you, when you next meet, what motivated you to say it, and why you did it that way. Just be honest, tell them you said it because you meant it, tell them that we are all too shy about complimenting people who deserve it, and if you like, tell them that some guy on the Internet is trying to start a Whisper Campaign to get everyone who receives such a compliment to pass it on to someone they really admire and from whom they want and expect nothing in return. Don't be specific and don't try to justify it in more detail than that. If they even try to return the compliment, politely stop them and explain that the Whisper Campaign is like Tag or Pay It Forward -- no tag-backs are allowed.
If you try it, please let me know how it works for you. We may not start a meme, but maybe in a small way we'll make the world a little better, a little happier, a little more honest.